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The Health Care Debate Debate

I just posted a Medicaid expansion op ed that argues, pretty effectively I think, against Governor Bullock’s plans to expand Medicaid eligibility to 138% of the federal poverty level. Those things are limited to 700-800 words, though, so I couldn’t include anywhere near all of the reasons that this is a bad idea, both for taxpayers and for potential enrollees.

The moral case against expansion is that the preponderance of literature indicates Medicaid patients have worse healthcare access and outcomes than the privately insured.

This is primarily because Medicaid reimbursements often don’t cover provider costs, so fewer providers are accepting Medicaid.
That means Medicaid recipients have insurance but not necessarily care, and so they end up in emergency rooms sicker and with more serious conditions than those with access to care through private insurance. Obamacare’s planned cuts to both Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements will only exacerbate this problem.

A few states like Florida and Rhode Island have tried consumer-driven Medicaid reforms that have actually decreased costs and increased access to care rather than simply drive more people into an unhealthy system. What a concept, except that those options were pretty much cut off from other states under Obamacare.

As for the impact on taxpayers, the Heritage Foundation has a good report for state lawmakers outlining the hidden costs of Medicaid expansion. Give it a read, and then contact your Representative or Senator to let them know how you feel.

And then, if all this piques your interest about consumer-driven healthcare reform, consider that if Switzerland can do it to great effect so can we.

It’s really pretty simple. As a society we’ve made the correct decision that we’re not going to step over bodies on the way to the hospital. So we subsidize those who need it, but we still offer them choices in what care they receive and how they get it. That results in insurers and providers competing for their business, which results in better service, better care, and lower prices. It works for virtually everything else we purchase, so why not healthcare?

The President’s Healthcare Law

President Obama wanted to make sure that every individual had health insurance coverage. That is a worthy goal. But in practice, it just won’t work. It will create a multi-trillion dollar government takeover of healthcare that gives too much control to Washington, DC, and not enough to patients and their doctors.

The simple truth is that the President’s law is unaffordable and doesn’t deliver the real reform for Americans that he promised.

It’s unaffordable. According to a recent study by a Trustee on the Medicare Board, the President’s healthcare law is projected to add $530 billion to federal deficits and increase spending by more than $1.15 trillion over the next decade. A health care policy analyst at the Cato Institute calculates the deficit impact at $823 billion and spending at $2.7 trillion over the same period.

Under the law, the mandate to expand Medicaid eligibility will cost Montana taxpayer’s as much as $155 billion from 2014 to 2019.

Americans wanted real reform, but the President’s law just isn’t it. More federal spending and expensive state mandates are not the way to control healthcare costs for all Americans.

It’s irresponsible and wasteful. Rather than making common sense reforms, the President’s healthcare law takes $500 billion from Medicare’s trust fund to pay for new Washington, DC, spending and does little to combat the waste.

Real healthcare reform is efficient, effective, and patient-centered. A wasteful, Washington, DC, centered plan is simply not what Americans want or need. A Montana Chamber of Commerce survey of 600 Montana voters shows that 60% do not support the President’s law even though they overwhelmingly see rising healthcare costs as their biggest “pocketbook” concern.

It’s unaccountable. Buried inside President Obama’s 2,700-page healthcare bill was the creation of a new board – called “IPAB,” a 15-member board of unelected healthcare bureaucrats in charge of making decisions about your access to healthcare.

The President’s plan gives too much control to Washington, DC. Healthcare reform must be patient centered, giving patients and their doctors full control over their personal healthcare decisions.

It’s unconstitutional. The law forces you to buy insurance even if you don’t want it or it’s not right for you. And if you don’t, the government penalizes you by taking even more of your hard-earned money.

We can do better. Let’s bring everyone together – Democrats and Republicans – to find the best ideas that produce real results. Let’s work to replace this law with a patient-centered approach that can deliver real reform for the American people.